To really change the game, we need to collectively become more sophisticated about pinpointing which practices have highest impact...
Washington D.C. (PRWEB) April 14, 2016
Techbridge, a leader for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming for girls, announced today during a convening of national STEM leaders the release of a white paper that provides best practices to encourage girls in STEM education and ultimately STEM careers. The white paper, made possible by support from Chevron, provides solutions to help expand opportunities and increase diversity in the STEM workforce.
According to the United States Department of Commerce, jobs in STEM fields are growing three times faster than non-STEM jobs. With women currently holding less than 25 percent of these jobs and minorities even less there are still many barriers and much work to be done to getting girls to pursue STEM and diversifying the workforce.
Girls of color are growing up in innovation hotbeds like Silicon Valley and Washington D.C., yet many do not consider careers in STEM. Meanwhile, STEM companies are scrambling to diversify their workforce, providing opportunity for young girls to pursue STEM careers.
The Techbridge white paper sets out to identify solutions and lessons learned through a series of interviews with national STEM education leaders. From those voices, a picture emerges of a STEM education movement that is reaching an inflection point.
"When Techbridge first began introducing girls to STEM 16 years ago, we were the only ones around doing this vital work,” said Meeta Sharma-Holt, Executive Director of Techbridge’s Washington, D.C. region. “Today there's still a stunning lack of diversity in STEM, but a much greater awareness of it, and a growing army of organizations and people striving to fix it. To really change the game, we need to collectively become more sophisticated about pinpointing which practices have highest impact, and find ways to embed those high-impact practices in the places where girls can discover their passions: their schools, out-of-school programs, in their community and at home with their families."
Some key findings from the white paper include:
- GIRL-CENTRIC AND CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE DESIGN: Not all girls are alike and there is no one-size fits all approach to inspiring diverse girls in STEM. Design solutions should be customized.
- STRENGTHEN STEM-LEARNING ECOSYSTEM: A new ecosystem approach is needed to provide more opportunities for girls to move into STEM education and careers. It is an evolving system of interactions between individual girls, their families, communities, learning environments and culture.
- INCORPORATE FAMILIES: It is imperative to involve families and parents as much as possible, including them in the design of programs and ensuring they become STEM advocates, regardless of their backgrounds.
- PROVIDE VALUABLE MENTORSHIPS: Provide effective, trained and relatable role models to help show girls the possibilities of what they can become.
“For over seven years, Chevron has partnered with Techbridge to help get girls interested and excited in STEM through after-school programs, STEM summer camps and role modeling and mentoring,” said Blair Blackwell, Manager, Education and Corporate Programs at Chevron. “Together, we have learned how to effectively develop programs that work. As part of our ongoing commitment to STEM education, Chevron supported this white paper to share those lessons and encourage collaboration to influence girls to pursue and persist in STEM studies and careers.”
The key to changing the game for girls in STEM is a collective effort of business, foundations, STEM education providers and government continuing to build strong, strategic alliances and coordinated networks. The white paper provides an important framework to work collectively to embolden girls and underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM education and careers.
To read the full white paper, visit http://www.techbridgegirls.org/changingthegame.